The upstart San Jose Sharks have given the Los Angeles Kings a scare through the first three games of the series, but the first of the series’ final four games begins tonight at 10:30 PM at Staples Center. As the Sharks' season begins to wind down, there are many questions the organization will face heading into the offseason. The first of which is: does team captain Joe Thornton have enough left in the tank for another season?
Thornton has been a productive player for the Sharks in the past, but it looks like his best years are well behind him. He’s made little impact on the series as his plus/minus rating currently stands at -0. Overall, he is -21 in the playoffs over his career.
Jumbo is scheduled to receive $6.8M next year against the salary cap and there is little doubt the Sharks would like to use that elsewhere.
Two-time cup winner Dave Bolland would seemingly be at the top of the list to replace Thornton. He’d likely come to the Sharks at a bargain after a disappointing ’13-14 campaign that was marred by injuries. Yet, there is little doubt that the much younger and grittier Bolland couldn’t provide a boost where the Sharks need it most: knowing how to win in the playoffs.
That being said, as Jumbo Joe takes the ice tonight, do not totally discount him. He is still capable of putting a goal on the board here and there. If there’s one thing we know for sure, it's that the old warrior will not go gentle into that good night.